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Salmonfly.Net Salmon and Steelhead Fly Tying Guide  In Memory of Yuri Shumakov 

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William Lovelace Flies -Tying the Electric Soft Hackle

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Here are some tying instructions for my Electric Soft Hackle. This can be tied with any kind of body but as you know I love dubbing flies. Chenille, yarn or even a floss body (or any combination) would work. This is a simple steelhead fly- a tail, body and a two part hackle (synthetic for flash and a soft hackle for action). To me this is almost just a little more razzle-dazzle version of that super effective steelhead fly the Spade but without the floatation of the deer hair. As a true "wingless wet" soft hackle it is tied "in the round" so it doesn't matter which way the hook is riding in the water as it passes a fish.

1. I start with a thread under wrap of the body. In this fly I am using a UTC 140 fluorescent pink thread.

1. I start with a thread under wrap of the body. In this fly I am using a UTC 140 fluorescent pink thread.

2. For the Krystal Flash tail and under hackle on this #2 hook, I select about 20 strands of Krystal Flash (about 10 of each color for two color flies). On this fly I only used Pearl but in any case roll the stands between your thumb and index finger to make the cut tips uneven and to mix the colors if using more than one color.

2. For the Krystal Flash tail and under hackle on this #2 hook, I select about 20 strands of Krystal Flash (about 10 of each color for two color flies). On this fly I only used Pearl but in any case roll the stands between your thumb and index finger to make the cut tips uneven and to mix the colors if using more than one color.

Tie in the flash at the rear of the shank leaving about a body length of the tail exposed and making sure that the flash strands evenly surround the hook shank. The Krystal Flash should surround and extend past the eye of the hook when you are finished. I wind the tying thread to the front of the fly and back.

3. To make it easier to work with the dubbing on the body I cut the Flash strands at about a body length in front of the eye so that when pulled to the rear they will surround the body and reach the start of the tail.

3. To make it easier to work with the dubbing on the body I cut the Flash strands at about a body length in front of the eye so that when pulled to the rear they will surround the body and reach the start of the tail.

4. I form a dubbing loop at the rear of the hook and loosely put whatever dubbing colors I desire in the loop. Here I am using a light and hot pink dubbing. I wrap the tying thread forward to the front of the hook where the body will end.

4. I form a dubbing loop at the rear of the hook and loosely put whatever dubbing colors I desire in the loop. Here I am using a light and hot pink dubbing. I wrap the tying thread forward to the front of the hook where the body will end.

5. Twist the loop to make the body as tight as you desire and wind the dubbed body forward.

5. Twist the loop to make the body as tight as you desire and wind the dubbed body forward.

6. Tie off the dubbing loop.

6. Tie off the dubbing loop.

7. Evenly stroke the Krystal Flash back over the eye of the hook and wrap the base of the fibers so you have "hackled" the fly with the reversed strands. I make a smooth thread base for the soft hackle to follow over the Krystal Flash.

7. Evenly stroke the Krystal Flash back over the eye of the hook and wrap the base of the fibers so you have "hackled" the fly with the reversed strands. I make a smooth thread base for the soft hackle to follow over the Krystal Flash.

8. Prepare a soft hackle feather to tie in by the tip. In this case I am using a Hot Fuchsia dyed Pheasant feather. A good hackling method to use here is the one Alec Jackson uses to tie his Spade series.

8. Prepare a soft hackle feather to tie in by the tip. In this case I am using a Hot Fuchsia dyed Pheasant feather. A good hackling method to use here is the one Alec Jackson uses to tie his Spade series.

9. Tie the feather in by the tip and fold the soft hackle fibers to the rear before you wrap the stem forward. I use the scissors folding method shown to me by John Shewey and detailed in his book Steelhead Flies.

9. Tie the feather in by the tip and fold the soft hackle fibers to the rear before you wrap the stem forward. I use the scissors folding method shown to me by John Shewey and detailed in his book Steelhead Flies.

10. Wrap the hackle forward, tie off with the tying thread, and trim off the excess. I usually twist the hackle stem back and forth and can break it off at the thread wraps.

10. Wrap the hackle forward, tie off with the tying thread, and trim off the excess. I usually twist the hackle stem back and forth and can break it off at the thread wraps.

11. A whip finish and some head cement and you have a finished Electric Soft Hackle.

11. A whip finish and some head cement and you have a finished Electric Soft Hackle.

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